Washington: Mincing no words, US officials on Wednesday claimed that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi city of Libya had the "hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation," and that it was a meticulously planned extremist plot.
"Details may still be fuzzy... But clearly it has all the hallmarks of an al Qaeda operation," the Chairman of the Congress House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers told CNN.
Asserting that the attack was a carefully planned one, the officials said that it was orchestrated and not a spontaneous outburst against an anti-Islam film produced in US.
"This was a well-armed, well-coordinated event, it had both indirect and direct fire, and it had military maneuvers that were all part of this very organized attack," the Republican lawmaker told another media channel.
US officials said the attack was "complex" and "they seem to have used this (protest) as an opportunity".
The attackers appeared to have used protest over a controversial film as a pretext to stage a major assault using small arms and rockets to overrun the Consulate, they said.
The attack on the US consulate in Libya yesterday claimed four American lives, including US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
The attack was said to be a reaction by the protesters enraged over an anti-Islam US film. The protests first happened in Egypt where the angry demonstrators scaled the embassy walls and tore down American flag.
The protests extended to Libya as well when yesterday an angry mob raided the US consulate in Benghazi, setting it ablaze.
US State Department officials said in a press conference yesterday that an investigation had been started to probe the details of the attack in which, US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was also killed.
The final hours of Stevens where still shrouded in mystery after he was trapped in a blazing inferno in the mission. The FBI has now opened an inquiry into the attack and the circumstances leading to death of the four Americans.
US has also rushed 50 marines to Libya. They belong to Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST)—a team assigned with the task of protecting American officials and diplomatic facilities overseas.
President Barack Obama ordered security to be beefed up at all diplomatic posts overseas.
The US Ambassador to Libya, J Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed last night when the consulate was attacked by demonstrators protesting an anti-Islam film made by an Israeli-American.
The assault in Benghazi came after a protest outside the US embassy in Egypt over the film.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012, 09:28